By Georgia McIntosh
Up until last January, I had never stepped foot in (or really been intrigued, for that matter) in a literary festival or event.
And here I am today – coming off the back of volunteering at the biggest free literary event in the world in India and now interning for a festival equally as great.
Since popping my proverbial cherry, I have become enthralled with all things literature festival-related. These types of events are a fantastic way to engage and connect with others and spark intelligent discussion – something I know I don’t do enough of in my everyday life.
Volunteering at the Jaipur Literature Festival, held over five days, was an eye-opening experience. In fact, just being in India was an eye-opening experience. With around 500,000 people attending, the event was a sea of faces and bright colours.
I worked at the main stage, where the biggest draw cards and most noteworthy sessions took place. Just being able to witness these keynotes and sessions was incredible. Highlights included: a spoken word performance by Kate Tempest (ahhh-mazing!), Paul Beatty’s humility, and a discussion with Taslima Nasrin. A secular humanist known for her powerful writings on women, oppression and religion, Nasrin has lived in exile from Bangladesh since 1994. The crowd’s response was equally as intriguing.
My time volunteering at this festival seemed to flick on a switch in my brain, bringing forward the question of why I had never immersed myself in something like this before, especially since I live in a city that is known for its major arts and cultural events.
So, after drinking my body volume in chai and eating my weight in garlic naan, it was finally time for me to head home (albeit reluctantly). My time in India definitely ignited a craving for wanting to learn and experience more, to partake in thought-provoking discussions and also be a part of creating and igniting these discussions.
What better way to do this than join the MWF team.
Georgia McIntosh is one of MWF’s 2017 Marketing and Development interns. Georgia is a coffee-drinking, dog-loving, impulse-buying enthusiast. When she isn’t spending her time interning at MWF, she can be found planning her next international adventure – be it learning Arabic in Israel or scuba diving in Madagascar.